Speaking recently at the validation of the Spotlight Initiative sponsored by the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) aimed at addressing issues of gender and sexual based violence against women in the country, Minister Dean openly disclosed that an indictment has been prepared against an AFL soldier and he will soon be disrobed in accordance with the laws of the country.
The Justice Minister asserted that in addition to the alleged perpetrator, all those who aided the alleged perpetrator, especially those who tried to compromise the matter, will be brought to book.
“We will do all in our power and within the confines of the law to bring to book individuals who come in conflict with the law as well as those who constantly abuse and violate the rights of women and girls including the general populace,” the Attorney General vowed
He named the establishment of criminal Court -E to try exclusively rape cases, the enactment into law of the Domestic Violence Act and the Setting up of women and children Protection Unit, among others, as some the strides national government mainly the Justice Ministry has made in helping to curtail all forms of violence and other related crimes across the country.
“We will not relent in enforcing the Law to the core until our girls, boys, men and women are protected,” he averred.
However, the Justice Minster encouraged parents and victims to report as much as possible violence and other forms of abuses against them and not to take it as a family thing.
He then reaffirmed the Government of Liberia commitment to working collectively with other partners and relevant stakeholders to ensure all forms of violence across the country come to an end.
But in reaction to the Justice Minister’s public pronouncement,Chief of Staff Johnson warned the Attorney General and others not to use the name of the AFL to scout donors’ support, stressing that the matter is already before the law, noting that such public pronouncement was not good as though nothing much has been done about the situation.
He asserted that the AFL has always been and will forever remain a professional and disciplinary sector of the country that will at all times abide by the laws of the land.
“Since 2017 and up till present, the AFL has received series of awards nationally and elsewhere for being the most organized, disciplined and professional body among other sectors of Liberia, this he pointed out, they are committed to maintaining,” stated the AFL Chief. We will not sit here for one minister to come and bring the name of the army to public disrepute because of an individual member, and or because someone wants to get funding from some partners,” accentuated the AFL Chief of Staff.
He stressed that they are under obligation to investigate any of its officers who come in conflict with the law, but if said crime committed does not fall in their preview, they normally refer said case to the Justice Ministry, such is the ongoing rape case involving an AFL soldier and an underage girl of which an indictment has been drawn and expected to be released by the Justice Ministry soon, confirmed Cllr. Dean.
“As evidence of our disciplinary role, 18 ALF officers charged with rape have been disrobed while six guilty of doing drugs were also disrobed,” disclosed the AFL boss as he warned the public not to generalize issues when they arise.
“Let people see theAFL personnel as human beings and not other-wise, as such, if issues happen, let them be handled in a more professional manner and form and not to cast a dark cloud over the professional and standard as well as disciplined institution,” he intimated.
Meanwhile, according to latest statistics, over 2,000 cases of sexual gender based violence have been reported from January to November with over 1,300 of them are rape amounting to 70%, mainly for children under the age of seventeen as Montserrado County said to be in the driver’s seat.
Partners and activists say this appalling statistics should be tackled collectively with concrete action to enforce implementation for the betterment of the society.